Why Vegan: Leave Animal Products Out of Your Closet!

Did you know that fashion is the worlds second most destructive industry behind oil? 

Fashion should be fun, not fatal.  In todays materially driven society, I've found that so many people have been so desensitized to violence.  (SOME) Animals are simply objects, convenient for food, clothing and entertainment, while others are lifelong companions- living side by side among us.  I beg the question, why love one and wear/eat the other?

It's really easy to look away- I had a friend on Facebook un-friend me for posting too many 'graphic videos'.  It's easy to remain blissfully ignorant- ignoring it doesn't change the fact that our dietary and shopping habits effect the lives of millions of living creatures every day.  I'm so thankful for all of the information available on the PETA Website- click on any of the links throughout the post to learn more about each topic.  Let me know if you have any questions! Much of the information was directly from their site- i've compiled it all together here!

Perhaps the most offensive of the industries animal products, the fur trade has (thankfully) been in steady decline as organizations like PETA have worked to run several successful campaigns highlighting the horrors of the industry.  "Here's the rest of your fur coat", "Fuck Fur", "Fur is dead" and "I wouldn't be caught dead in fur" are just several of the organizations popular campaign slogans.   Animal products, Fur especially, belong boxed up and forgotten about with Culottes and corsets.  

Whether it came from an animal on a fur farm or one who was trapped in the wild, every fur coat, trinket, and bit of trim caused an animal tremendous suffering—and took away a life.

Animals on fur farms spend their entire lives confined to cramped, filthy wire cages. Fur farmers use the cheapest and cruelest killing methods available, including suffocation, electrocution, gas, and poison.

More than half the fur in the U.S. comes from China, where millions of dogs and cats are bludgeoned, hanged, bled to death, and often skinned alive for their fur. Chinese fur is often deliberately mislabeled, so if you wear any fur, there’s no way of knowing for sure whose skin you’re in.

Animals who are trapped in the wild can suffer for days from blood loss, shock, dehydration, frostbite, gangrene, and attacks by predators. They may be caught in steel-jaw traps that slam down on their legs, often cutting to the bone; Conibear traps, which crush their necks with 90 pounds of pressure per square inch; or water-set traps, which leave beavers, muskrats, and other animals struggling for more than nine agonizing minutes before drowning.

During the annual Canadian seal slaughter, tens of thousands of baby harp seals are shot or repeatedly bludgeoned with clubs tipped with metal hooks. Also in Canada, hundreds of black bears are shot at point-blank range or caught in traps and left to suffer for days so that their skins can be used to make the ceremonial hats worn by Queen Elizabeth II’s Five Guards’ Regiments.

Luckily, there is no need to be cruel to stay warm and look cool. Cruelty-free fabrics and faux furs are available in stores everywhere, and PETA continues to work with designers and clothing retailers to encourage them to use and sell only animal-friendly fabrics.

Leather

Yes, those are dogs waiting their turn to become leather and fur hides.

Yes, those are dogs waiting their turn to become leather and fur hides.

Leather can be made from cows, pigs, goats, and sheep; exotic animals such as alligators, ostriches, and kangaroos; and even dogs and cats, who are slaughtered for their meat and skin in China, which exports their skins around the world. Because leather is normally not labeled, you never really know where (or whom) it came from.

Most leather comes from developing countries such as India and China, where animal welfare laws are either non-existent or not enforced. In India, a PETA investigation found that workers break cows’ tails and rub chili peppers and tobacco into their eyes in order to force them to get up and walk after they collapse from exhaustion on the way to the slaughterhouse.

In talking with clients about my design philosophy, I often encounter the “we’re using the whole animal” argument.  People think that because we’re eating the animals here in the U.S, that all of our leather products are simply bi-products of that industry.  This is partly true-  In the U.S., many of the millions of cows and other animals who are killed for their skin endure the horrors of factory farming—extreme crowding and deprivation as well as castration, branding, tail-docking, and dehorning—all without any painkillers. At slaughterhouses, animals routinely have their throats cut and some are even skinned and dismembered while they are still conscious.

Buying leather directly contributes to factory farms and slaughterhouses because skin is the most economically important byproduct of the meat industry. Leather is also no friend of the environment, as it shares responsibility for all the environmental destruction caused by the meat industry as well as the pollution caused by the toxins used in tanning.

With every pair of leather shoes that you buy, you sentence an animal to a lifetime of suffering. Instead, you can choose from hundreds of styles of nonleather shoes, clothing, belts, bags, and wallets. Check out PETA’s cruelty-free clothing guide for great tips on where to find fashionable yet compassionate clothing.

Just because something is done, does not mean that it’s right.  There is no medical need to consume meat or animal products and there is certainly no need to wear them. 

Wool

Sheep are gentle individuals who, like all animals, feel pain, fear, and loneliness. But because there’s a market for their fleece and skins, they’re treated as nothing more than wool-producing machines.

If they were left alone and not genetically manipulated, sheep would grow just enough wool to protect themselves from temperature extremes. The fleece provides them with effective insulation against both cold and heat.

Shearers are usually paid by volume, not by the hour, which encourages fast work without any regard for the welfare of the sheep. This hasty and careless shearing leads to frequent injuries, and workers use a needle and thread to sew the worst wounds shut—without any pain relief. Strips of skin—and even teats, tails, and ears—are often cut or ripped off during shearing.

A PETA investigation of more than 30 shearing sheds in the U.S. and Australia uncovered rampant abuse. Shearers were caught punching, kicking, and stomping on sheep, in addition to hitting them in the face with electric clippers and standing on their heads, necks, and hind limbs. One shearer was seen beating a lamb in the head with a hammer. Another even used a sheep’s body to wipe the sheep’s own urine off the floor. And yet another shearer repeatedly twisted and bent a sheep’s neck, breaking it.

In Australia, where more than 50 percent of the world’s merino wool—which is used in products ranging from clothing to carpets—originates, lambs are forced to endure a gruesome procedure called “mulesing,” in which huge chunks of skin are cut from the animals’ backsides, often without any painkillers.

Within weeks of birth, lambs’ ears are hole-punched, their tails are chopped off, and the males are castrated without any painkillers. Male lambs are castrated when they are between 2 and 8 weeks old, either by making an incision and cutting their testicles out or with a rubber ring used to cut off blood supply—one of the most painful methods of castration possible. When the lambs’ testicles don’t fall off as expected, shearers often just cut off them with clippers. Every year, hundreds of lambs die before the age of 8 weeks from exposure or starvation, and mature sheep die every year from disease, lack of shelter, and neglect.

Unwanted Australian sheep are shipped to the Middle East on crowded multilevel ships. These voyages, which can last weeks, go to countries where animal welfare standards are non-existent. The suffering sheep are dragged off the ships, loaded onto trucks, and dragged by their ears and legs to slaughterhouses—which are often unregulated—where their throats are slit while they’re still conscious.

No amount of fluff can hide the fact that anyone who buys wool supports a cruel and bloody industry. There are plenty of durable, stylish, and warm fabrics available that aren’t made from wool or animal skins. Please join the millions of people all over the world who know that compassion is the fashion. Save a sheep—don’t buy wool.

Transitioning can be difficult at first, but living animal product free is completely feasible and rewarding.  We are so proud of what we're doing to elevate vegan products.  Look out for an explosion of faux furs and vegan leathers this February when we walk or collection at Styleweek NE <3

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